News Outlets Leave Out Important Details in Columbus Shooting. Is It Their Aim to Spark Unrest?

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Becket Adams of The Washington Examiner is enraged at the coverage provided by some news outlets of the shooting death of 16-year-old Ma’Khai Bryant in Columbus, OH. The news outlets, in Becket’s assessment, seem intent on causing anger and perhaps a repeat of last summer’s violence by leaving out essential details to the story, their comparing Bryant’s death to George Floyd’s and, in one amazing admission, even stating that their reporting may be incorrect.

Based on the footage of the incident released by the Columbus Police Department, the police arrived at a tense scene involving several people, one of whom, Bryant, was carrying a knife. The police repeatedly ordered Bryant to, “Get down!” but their orders went unheeded. Bryant appeared to lunge with her knife at an unarmed teenager. At that time, a police officer shot four times, killing Bryant and possibly saving the life of the unarmed Black teenager.

The New York Times headline read: “Teenage Girl Is Fatally Shot by Police in Columbus, Officials Say.” No mention of her attacking another with a knife. The Washington Post headline read: “Ohio police fatally shoot Black teenage girl just before Chauvin verdict.” The opening line to the column reads,, “The fatal shooting of a Black teenager by Columbus police on Tuesday stoked grief and anger just as the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was being celebrated as a sign of long-elusive accountability for law enforcement.” Absolutely nothing there about Bryant attacking another Black teen with a knife. Also, what does the Chauvin verdict have to do with the Columbus shooting? Absolutely nothing. But, it makes for an implied comparison. Floyd was murdered by an over-aggressive White cop in Minneapolis. We are led to conclude the same about Bryant in Columbus.

But, NPR takes the prize with their take on the shooting. Their headline read: “Columbus police shoot and kill black teenage girl.” The shooting has no context to it at all. You could reasonably conclude that the cops just showed up on Bryant’s street or at her house and shot her dead with no provocation. But, even more dumbfounding is the footnote to the story, where NPR writes, “This is a developing story. Some facts reported by the media may turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene, and we will update as the situation develops.”

First, if a “fact” turns out to be wrong, then it was never a “fact” in the first place. Second, why would NPR, or any news outlet report anything as a “fact” unless it had been vetted and verified? Perhaps NPR does not consider itself one of the “credible” news outlets it relies on. I am seriously questioning their credibility.

The officer’s body cam video shows a female teen being tackled by Bryant who has a knife in her hand. Bryant then charges the other teen with the knife raised. It is at that point that the officer fired, shooting Bryant. Film from the security camera from a neighbor’s home also corroborates this. The officer had only seconds to respond to what he certainly understood was a violent and potentially fatal attack by Bryant on another female teen. Let us be honest; if the police had not been there (as those who are demanding the dissolution of the police would apparently prefer), and Bryant had killed the other Black teenage girl with her knife attack, it would not be national news. One Black girl killing another Black girl is not national news. We know this, because Black on Black murders are rarely covered in national news. This story is news only because a White cop killed a Black teenage girl. That is national news, even if he acted in defense of another Black teenage girl. Because the fact that he acted in defense of another Black teenage girl can easily be dismissed and left out of the story.

These are not the only news outlets that left out important details of the Columbus shooting, especially neglecting to mention that Bryant was armed with a knife and attacking another teen. Becket accuses these news outlets of wanting to inspire anger, unrest, and racial animosity. By the looks of it, I think he’s hit the nail on the head.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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